On 2014-08-10, the Wikimedia Foundation added a 'superprotect' right – granted to the 'staff' global user group – which can make pages uneditable even for administrators, hence creating a new hierarchy where administrators are no longer the most trusted users of our wikis. The technical feature was removed in November 2015, but the Wikimedia Foundation has not substantially addressed the reasoning that went into its deployment, or what conditions might prompt similar efforts in the future.
The first use of 'superprotect' (on the same day) was to prevent German Wikipedia administrators from using MediaWiki:Common.js, where the mw:MediaViewer had been deactivated in a wheel war involving two administrators and a WMF staffer. Like on English Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons, the German Wikipedia had decided to turn off this feature by default. The Wikimedia Foundation rejected the decision on 2014-08-09 and the community was discussing what to do.
Rather than put the MediaViewer feature back into Beta, so that users can optionally enable it if they find it beneficial, WMF enforced its deployment of this software to all readers, with threats of removing users' administrative privileges on English Wikipedia, and now preventing this script from being altered by administrators on German Wikipedia.
On 2014-08-27 Wikimedia Foundation removed superprotection from the page, but left the superprotect right and the state of Media Viewer unchanged.
On 2015-11-05, the Wikimedia Foundation removed the Superprotect right from all Wikimedia wikis. Executive Director Lila Tretikov stated:
“We wanted to remove Superprotect. Superprotect set up a precedent of mistrust, and this is something it was really important for us to remove, to at least come back to the baseline of a relationship where we're working together, we're one community, to create a better process. To make sure we can move together faster, and to make sure everybody is part of that process, everybody is part of that conversation, and not just us at the Wikimedia Foundation." ”
- Wikimedia Foundation statements one, two and three and consultations one, two and three.
- Global community consultations: Requests for comment/Superprotect rights, Letter to Wikimedia Foundation: Superprotect and Media Viewer.
- Candidates in the 2015 Board of Trustees election were asked about Superprotect: Wikimedia Foundation elections/Board elections/2015/Questions/1#Use of Superprotect and respect for community consensus
- "'Superprotect': Wikimedia behält das letzte Wort bei Wikipedia" (Super Protect: Wikimedia has the last word at Wikipedia)
- "Superschutz: Wikimedia-Stiftung zwingt deutschen Nutzern Mediaviewer auf" (Superprotection: Wikimedia Foundation forcing Media Viewer on German users)
- "Wikipedia: Superprotect-Streit spitzt sich zu" (Wikipedia: Superprotect dispute escalates).
- English Wikipedia's Signpost, August 2014: Media Viewer controversy spreads to German Wikipedia
- Slashdot, August 21, 2014: Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'
- The Register, September 2014 (prior to delivery of the letter): Jimbo tells Wikipedians: You CAN'T vote to disable 'key software features'
- The Epoch Times covered the issue (without specifically naming it) and the letter in April 2015: Wikipedia's Crisis of Identity
- English Wikipedia's Signpost, August 2015: Superprotect one year later
- English Wikipedia's Signpost, November 2015: Superprotect is Gone
- Mike Linksvayer, a Wikipedian and former Vice President of Creative Commons, mentioned Superprotect in the context of governance and community dynamics, May 2015: Democratizing Wikimedia Innovation
- Op-ed by Pete Forsyth on the removal of Superprotect and what it means, November 2015
- en:Wikipedia:Songs about Wikipedia/Wiki Bells (protest song)